What to do first to control your crawl space moisture problem...
What to do first to control that crawl space moisture problem...
So, you’re thinking about encapsulating your crawl space or at least installing a more effective vapor barrier. For your health, for the environment, to save on your utility bills, and to protect the value of what is most likely your biggest investment – your home, that’s a great idea. So, what do you need to look at next? To maximize the effectiveness of your vapor barrier and control the humidity in your crawl space, there are a few factors you need to consider.
First, look at the outside of your home. If you don’t have rain gutters, consider installing them. During a one inch rain fall, the average roof sheds 1,000 gallons of water. That is a lot of water, and without gutters it is all deposited along the foundation of your home. It won’t be long until it finds your crawl space.
If you have rain gutters, make sure that they channel water away from the foundation of your home. I’ve read numerous suggestions from professionals but six feet seems to be an average. A drywell might also be a good idea.
Finally, make sure that the terrain slopes away from the foundation. Be careful to check behind any foundation shrubbery plantings. It may be necessary to dig a swale if your home is constructed on a slope.
Keeping water away from the foundation of your home is particularly important if you live in a climate that has hard freezes in the winter. Water constantly freezing and thawing along the foundation of your home can cause significant (and expensive to repair) foundation damage.
So, don’t try and put a band-aid on your crawl space moisture problem. Address the problem at the source and that means starting with the water on the outside of your house.